Data recently compiled revealed an alarming HIV increase in Orlando’s youth. The rising number of HIV cases in youth ages 13-24 is a complex issue. Working together to educate and raise awareness, we can all contribute to ending HIV in Orlando’s youth. (Young and don’t have time for all these words? Still want info and resources? Jump to the bottom NOW!)
National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
Today is a perfect day to start doing your part about the HIV increase in Orlando’s youth. April 10th is National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NYHAAD) which educates the public about the impact of HIV and AIDS on young people and to highlight the work young people are doing across the country to respond to the epidemic.
HIV and Orlando’s Youth
In order to understand HIV and how to prevent it, proper education is necessary. Individuals that receive comprehensive sex education that is age appropriate are best equipped to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Here are some quick stats:
- 33% increase in HIV in Orange County among individuals ages 13-24¹
- Ages 13-24 have the lowest viral suppression rate in the Orlando Eligible Metropolitian Area
The Central Florida HIV Planning Council (CFHPC) is responsible for planning HIV care and prevention in Central Florida. To improve the viral suppression rate, they’ve already commissioned a study. Sam Graper, our Community Relations Manager, also serves as Chair of the CFHPC. CFHPC and Sam are doing an exceptional job and more work needs to be done. Other organizations are conducting targeted out reach programs for youth. The goal is to increase education and testing and reduce HIV.
HIV Prevention Methods
There are several HIV prevention methods. Do you know about all of them?
- Undetectable Equals Untransmittable (UequalsU)- Studies show that if someone is HIV+, takes their medication regularly and achieves an undetectable viral load for over 6 months, that they cannot transmit the virus. UequalsU was created by The Prevention Access Campaign to educate people about the science behind it. #UequalsU #ScienceNotStigma
- PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) – (PrEP) is a medical regimen that includes routine doctor visits, labs and taking 1 pill once a day to prevent HIV. When taken daily, data shows that its over 90% effective at reducing HIV transmission. Your doctor/healthcare provider, Health Department and many nonprofits are now offering it. Check out Please PrEP Me to find the option closest to you. #PrEP #OICPrEPared
- Condoms – Using condoms with both of the above HIV prevention strategies is recommended. In addition, condoms also help prevent STIs. Now there is even an internal condom option! Check out our blog post on “Free Condom Locations in Orlando”
- Other Ways – Plus there are a million other ways to have a great time AND prevent HIV. Above all, have a healthy conversation about sexual boundaries, safe sex practices and consent!
Great Community Resources
Check out these websites to get more information about STIs, HIV, Birth Control, Healthy Relationships, and MORE!
- TalkTestCfl.com– Your local Central Florida guide to getting tested and knowing where to go for HIV prevention and care.
- KnowyourHIVstatus.com – Get tested. Know your status. Learn what’s next. Just plug in your zip code.
- Birdsbeesandstds – This fun website takes you through the different types, symptoms, and treatments of different sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Also, check out the quiz to see if you get a .
- Amaze – AMAZE takes the awkward out of sex ed. Real info in fun, animated videos that give you all the answers you actually want to know about sex, your body and relationships. This website is awesome for people aged 10-14!
- Scarleteen– Inclusive, comprehensive, supportive, sexuality and relationships info for teens and emerging adults
- Sexetc – This website is a resource made by teens, for teens. The website includes: sex ed info, a blog, an action center, and a magazine.
- Stayteen – A one stop go to for advice, information, videos, games and quizzes, all to live your best life!
- Bedsider – Everything you need to know about different birth control methods.
- Greaterthan.org – Information, videos, and real stories to empower and inspire. Together we can end the HIV epidemic.
But what can I do?
Young or old – just follow these 4 simple tips and have a huge impact on your community!
- GET EDUCATED – Get educated about HIV and youth
- GET TESTED – Get tested regularly. You can start getting tested at the age of 13!
- GET TREATED – Negative or Positive you should be seeing a doctor
- GET INVOLVED – Get involved in your community. Talk to friends about the HIV increase in Orlando’s youth. Share this info with them.
Community Relations Manager, Orlando Immunology Center
BE SOCIAL! Join the convo on our social media channels – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Linked In. #NYHAAD #OICorlando
Special thanks to Nicole Elinoff, MPH(c), Sexual Minority Health Coordinator with the Area 7 Program Office Florida Department of Health in Orange County for compiling the list of community resources.